Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 44 – A Fight to The Death.
A moment’s hesitation. In a battle among mages, that moment is an eternity.
From the muzzle of the Jericho came nine millimeter bullets flying towards Archer’s forehead, their aim true. But Archer was a Servant. The momentary preparation was enough for him to determine that the enemy’s aim was his head, and his arm moved up in defense.
The bullets scattered flesh and scraped bone. Physical attacks had little effect on Servants. Under normal conditions, a lead bullet would be unable to deal damage to them. However…
“…Consecrated bullets. Bullets filled with holy relics…!”
It was absurd to us a word like “consecrated”. In truth, manufactured as bullets full of holy material and used in a gun the ammunition possessed a timeless curse. Holy relics were treasures that could affect a spirit just by existing.
Normal lead bullets made the equal of sorcery. It was a method of attack to make them into something even greater than that.
*Bam! Bam! Bam!*
The bullets continued to fire. Naturally, Archer had already moved. The moment the first bullet hit him, he had rushed diagonally left in front of Kiritsugu, dodging the shower of bullets with a difference of a mere moment, all the while nearing his quarry.
Due to the structure of a human body, reaction to exterior movement was slightly delayed. Kinetic vision and movement ability that seized a moment’s time lag, and saw the whole of the movement that occurred.
Daring combat maneuvers, yes. Daring for all but for a Servant, that is.
He clicked his tongue once. Kiritsugu slung a duralumin trunk lying on top of the console over his shoulder and stepped to his left, drawing a circle around Archer to confront him.
“…Materia roboratio, pondus alleviation.”
A thread of magical energy running through Kiritsugu’s body. The propulsion of his kick off the ground was momentarily enlarged, and he pulled away from Archer as he pursued him.
Archer had tried to advance and stay close to Kiritsugu, but the man’s maneuver had pulled him two strides away. A straight line was a mistake.
Bullets flew. Anticipating them, Archer defended his heart and head with Kanshou and Bakuya as shields, but the width of the blades was such that they could guard against only three gunshots. The last bullet plunged into Archer’s calf.
Clever. The sound of the gunshots had been nearly continuous, but he had adjusted the aim on the very last shot. How much strength and experience did Kiritsugu possess? A shot like that should have been impossible if one were working with standard firearms tactics in mind.
But Archer was a Servant. Physical impacts did not inflict enough damage to stop him, and the giant red frame drew ever close towards the sorcerer.
He swung Kanshou and Bakuya. His target, the right arm. By severing his primary arm, he could disable him-
Two blades cut through emptiness. A wind blew. The body of the magician that Archer should have capture that had been right in front of him had suddenly disappeared with a shimmer of hot air.
A moment of confusion. Archer moved Kanshou and Bakuya to cover his vital areas.
Bullets rained down like a storm. It was impossible to deflect every last one; two bored into his body.
The impact drove into his flesh, but Archer did not stop. Tormented by intense pain, his legs continued to advance, chasing after the magus even further. Among spurts of blood, he perceived the figure of Kiritsugu trying to leave the room through the entrance.
Archer had been reading it all. The Jericho had a bullet capacity of sixteen rounds, and there was but one left. One handgun bullet was not an effective countermeasure against a servant.
“Do you think I’d let you escape?”
Bearing the pain that wracked his body, he kicked off the floor. In terms of mobility, there was no comparison between what a Servant and a human possessed. Archer left the room and closed in on Kiritsugu in a straight corridor in front of the bridge. Conserving his momentum, he tackled Kiritsugu with his shoulder.
Kiritsugu was sent flying perpendicular to the floor. On firm ground, Archer gazed at the enemy he had at last cornered and threw his beloved swords.
Two swords raced through the air. The steel flew towards its target, as if possessed a will of its own. Flat on the ground, Kiritsugu nevertheless defended against Bakuya, the trunk in his hand his shield, but-
Its fellow blade Kanshou’s aim was true, and it pinned Kirtsugu’s shin to the floor. His movement was sealed now.
“You won’t escape.”
At the same time, Archer leapt off the ground towards Kiritsugu. The magician’s bullets were exhausted and his leg skewered. The curtains seemed to have been drawn on this play, but-
“—Di material roboratio.”
Kiritsugu readied Jericho once again in his hand, and aimed towards Archer.
The last bullet. It was nothing. The power of a handgun could not pierce Kanshou or Bakuya. The mage in front of Archer was Emiya Kiritsugu, however. Would the man whose alias was the Mage Killer do nothing in what could be his final moments?
“Dolor tempero, elementum interpono.”
Their gazes collided. As if gathering the magical energy racing through the gun barrel, Kiritsugu wrapped his finger around the trigger. Archer once again projected Kanshou and Bakuya and moved towards Kiritsugu.
That was when he noticed. Kiritsugu’s movements when he had suddenly vanished earlier. Just what was that?
It was not teleportation. If a human mage attempted to teleport under their own power, auxiliary equipment and a chant incorporating the long and short range coordinates would be necessary. Even if they had the ability to use it, it was not suitable for actual combat.
Then what was that back then? Teleportation, the wind… High speed movement that could not be seen…
Innate Time Control.
The moment he realized it, Archer concentrated the fastest projection he was capable directly in front of him. A five-fold over wide broad sword appeared perpendicular to him. But.
All that Archer saw was the a blade in pieces. A violent impact assaulted his body.
Archer vomited blood, and his knees gave way. When he turned his eyes to look… He saw that his side was gone.
Sorcery that interferes with time on an innate level, Innate Time Control.
He had been completely defeated by the attack…
Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 44.
A Fight to the death.
No matter the magus, when they employ magic, preparation is necessary. In their world, the ashen man who can take the offensive with modern weapons is the absolute fastest and ultimate oppressor.
Not bound by the restrictions of any laws known to Magi, he employed every method available, struck preemptively, and, without allowing his enemies to respond, silenced them.
That was why he was branded with the name of heretic.
That was why he held the name “Magus Killer”.